MANILA, Philippines - Nonito Donaire Jr., who surged to prominence last year as Manny Pacquiao lost his crown for the first time in over 10 years, heads Filipino world, international and national champions as Boxer of the Year in the 13th Gabriel "Flash" Elorde Memorial Awards and Banquet of Champions on March 25.
Donaire, 30, was the busiest and winningest of Filipino boxers in 2012, winning all four world bouts to receive the highest honor in the Elorde Memorial Awards, held in honor of the 78th birth anniversary of Da Flash, world junior lightweight champion from 1960-67.
Donaire outpointed Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. for the vacant WBO super bantamweight crown in February. He retained the WBO title and claimed the IBF crown via a decision over Jeffrey Mathebula in California in July.
He halted former WBC champion Toshiaki Nishioka to keep his WBO title in California in October and retained his WBO crown with a third round conquest of Jorge Arce in Houston in December.
Others who will be honored as boxers of the year are WBO/WBA flyweight king Brian Viloria, WBO light flyweight titlist Donnie Nietes and IBF light flyweight ruler Johnriel Casimero.
This will be the 13th straight year the Elorde clan, led by the International Hall of Famer's wife Laura, will be conferring the honors to world, international and Philippine champions.
"Despite the loss of Manny Pacquiao, the greatest boxer of this generation, in December, the year had its big boxing hero in Donaire who gave us something to cheer about as the year was about to end," said Laura Elorde.
"His four straight wins during the year truly make him a deserving recipient of boxing's highest award, which we are honored to present," she added.
Others to be honored are the year's best promoter, trainer, judge and referee, the best fight of the year and most promising boxer. Citations will also be awarded to sportsmen whose contributions made an impact on pro boxing during the year.